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About Marilyn Townsend


A Note From Marilyn Townsend

My commitment to being a fair and impartial judge, dedicated to equal justice under the law, is evident every time I preside as the Municipal Judge in Shorewood Hills.

As Municipal Judge, I have overseen and decided more than 3,000 cases.  I am mindful that my decisions affect the lives of individuals and also affect our broader community. Over the course of my 35 years as an attorney, I have appeared at all levels of Wisconsin Courts, including the Supreme Court, and I’ve seen what a positive difference good judges make to our court system.

My pledge to you as a Circuit Court judge, is that I will be prepared for every case, respectful to all who appear before me, collaborative in efforts to improve our court system, and that I will be a thoughtful and fair decision maker.

I ask for your vote for Circuit Court. It would be an honor to serve all of the people of Dane County.

elect marilyn townsend to dane county court wisconsin politics
elect marilyn townsend to dane county court wisconsin politics

Marilyn is the only candidate for Judge who is a Judge.

As a Municipal Court Judge, Marilyn has overseen and decided more than 3,000 cases. She has issued written decisions, effectively and fairly managed a courtroom, presided over trials, and ruled on matters of law. There is no substitute for experience. The issues our courts face require collaborative, active, and knowledgeable Judges, who are willing and able to tackle tough issues, understand individual circumstances, and make our justice system more just.

Marilyn has been a civil rights, public interest and employment attorney for 38-years and has handled cases in many Courts

Marilyn has represented people caught up in the legal system in many different type of courts including  Circuit Courts, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and in Federal Court.

Marilyn has also represented clients in administrative proceedings  before many agencies including the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division (ERD), the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner, the Unemployment Compensation Appeals Board, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Marilyn Townsend to Dane County Court

Marilyn Townsend does many cases free of charge and volunteers her legal skills.

Many individuals who need the services of an attorney in civil rights or unemployment compensation cases  cannot afford to pay an attorney hundreds of dollars an hour to work on their case. These cases are complex and time consuming. Marilyn took a case, pro bono or free of charge, all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court…and won a unanimous decision!  Marilyn also volunteers her legal skills at the Unemployment Compensation Clinic and the Veterans Law Clinic.

As a Judge, Marilyn utilizes options available to reduce racial disparity.

As a Municipal Court Judge, Marilyn offers defendants the opportunity to avoid a record, by postponing sentencing to allow them to receive drug and alcohol assessment and treatment, or by offering community service as an alternative to a conviction and a record.

Groundbreaking Wisconsin Supreme Court Victory

Marilyn first met Lela Operton at the unemployment law clinic at which Marilyn volunteers. Ms. Operton had been unfairly denied unemployment benefits. Marilyn took that case all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In May 2017,  The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Ms. Operton’s favor. That decision will also positively affect many workers around the State, who will no longer be unfairly denied the benefits to which they are entitled.

Judge Townsend’s appreciation of the challenges people face started young.

Marilyn Townsend grew up on a farm in northern Wisconsin. Her maternal grandparents immigrated from Slovenia and her mother was a first-generation American. Both her parents grew up during the great depression. Neither of them finished high school. Marilyn’s parents taught all eight of their children the values of hard work, perseverance, and giving back to their communities.

Involved in the Community

For 25 years, Marilyn have been a volunteer attorney at the Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic, offering her legal services free of charge.  She also volunteers her time and expertise at the Veteran’s Law Clinic. She is a member of the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee, and a past president of the Legal Association of Women. Marilyn was also elected to three terms as a member of the Shorewood Hills Village government.

Judge Marilyn Townsend to Dane County Court
Marilyn has the qualities a judge should have. She has exceptional legal skills. She is a municipal judge, who has shown herself to be fair and impartial in overseeing and hearing over 3,000 cases. She has the intellect, the independence, the experience, and the temperament to handle the significant responsibilities of serving all the people of Dane County.
— Nia Enemuoh-Trammell, Attorney and Administrative Law Judge